Converts your apptaster file into interactive HTML
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README.asciidoc
apptaster-to-html.py

README.asciidoc

Apptaster to html

General

Apptaster-to-html will convert your Apptaster exported files from App Cooker into good old HTML with imagemaps to make them interactive. This beats the pants down of App Cooker’s image or pdf export, since those are static. Also, the exported HTML plays nice with any static file web server (like Dropbox so you can send a link to your prototype to your clients and let them play with it.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I prototype once every 27 years, so after my last session I whipped this script in about two hours to show stuff to people (which includes this lame readme). Unfortunately that means the script is not generic (for instance, it won’t work on landscape prototypes due to ignoring the tags) and it only sees/exports what I’ve needed. See the TODO section for ideas/improvements.

Also, I’m not affiliated with Dropbox, but if you haven’t heard, Dropbox is the bee’s knees, the chocolate in your icecream, the syntax sugar of your objective-c properties, the…​ ok, who cares.

Finally, this small script was written because Apptaster the app was NOT available. Now that it is, the usefulness of this script is relegated to very narrow niches (eg. clients who want you to write an ipad app and don’t have an ipad themselves…​ er…​ wait, somethings wrong).

Usage

You need a python 2.5 (I believe), which comes in about every mac able to run the iOS SDK. On Windows you can install http://www.python.org/ without problems (don’t get version 3.0 or above, that’s toxic) and run this from the command line:

apptaster-to-html.py prototype.apptaster

The script will work through the input parameters opening each apptaster file and exporting html and images to a subdirectory.

When it goes wrong

Oh, boy, and it will go wrong. Maybe the script will fail, maybe it won’t export anything. You have two choices:

  1. Send me your apptaster file and be lucky I decide to improve the script so it can be exported.

  2. Rename your .apptaster file to a .zip file, unzip, and rename the project file to .xml, which then you can drag on Safari. That will show you the structure of the project and reading the source you may find out what is not working for your prototype.

TODO

Just because I’m describing this it doesn’t mean I will do it:

  • Parsing the full range of tags in the apptaster xml would be nice.

  • I stopped writting HTML and stuff long ago because I had to do it uphill, both ways, in the snow. I’ve been told there are cleaning tools like Ajax and other improvements nowadays to make it all prettier, more interactive, more…​ more…​ I don’t know. Maybe you would like to do stuff like that?

  • Since this ajax/web 2.0 stuff is easy for you, you could have also an in-browser setting which the user could click and suddenly all imagemap areas would be highlighted with a color of the user choice. So the user can see the areas which are clickable and doesn’t require moving the mouse over the image (which can’t be done when viewing on a tablet, for instance).

  • Also, below each image you could write a good old <li> with all the interactive areas and a link to them with a title, so even if the user doesn’t want to touch the image she can navigate textually.

  • It would be nice to use python’s optparse (or anything else, really) to process command line options. You could then specify the output directory for the HTML/images rather than generate it where the file is.

  • And maybe you would like to use python’s ConfigParser module (or something else) to store a configuration file in your $HOME so that this exportaiton directory (your dropbox folder maybe?) is automatically used.

  • There are javascript online forum additions to webpages (http://disqus.com/). How about maybe hacking something similar for the exportation so your clients can comment directly each of your prototype’s screens from their webbrowser?

If you fancy doing anything of this or other stuff you can imagine, don’t hesitate to do so! You could even send me a pull request later, or I could remove this fork in favour of your maintained version if it goes far ahead.

License

This script is licensed under the GNU General Public License, version 3 (http://www.opensource.org/licenses/GPL-3.0) simply because everybody says every day more and more people are licensing stuff under BSD/MIT and that can’t really be allowed to happen. Besides, who cares about the license of a 100 lines python script? If you can’t reimplement it yourself cleanly in your favourite language, you are doomed.